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A Review of Adapting Job Design to the Millennial Generation

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A Review of Adapting Job Design to the Millennial Generation

Jannette Santiago

ORGD 6351 Foundation Organizational Development


A Review of Adapting Job Design to the Millennial Generation

In the current organizational environment, organizational development, human behavior, and job design are changing rapidly due to the entry of the Millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, into the workforce. A paradigm shift from organizations focused on stability of the business environment, being politically correct, and following in your parent’s foundational shadow to organizations expecting constant change and innovation with limitless venues to explore in the attempt to create competitive collaboration team with diverse skills sets, values, and expectations has created the need to become organizations built to change. Millennials have a significant impact on the levels of performance, accountability, training, the employer/employee needs and demands, which have changed how companies and organizations do business and engage their employees.

The Millennial Generation.

According to Pew Research.org the Millennials generation is from 1981 to 1997 (Pew Research, 2017). Although, most are considered born up to the year 2000 and are currently entering today’s workforce. Millennials are described as the “want it all” and “want it now” generation and their drive for success, career goals, and expectations for advancement are high, unrealistic, and disconnected (Ng, 2010).  Millennials are referred to as Generation Whine, which is defined as “young people who have been so over-indulged and protected that they are incapable of handling the most mundane task without guidance or hand holding” (Hershatter, 2016, p. 211). The reality is that millennials hold a significantly different set of values, work ethics, expectations, and attitudes in the workplace than those of previous generations (Ng, 2010). Millennials make up about 40 percent of the workforce in the U.S., and it is estimated that they will account for 75 percent by 2025. Whereas the older generation typically adapted to their workplace, Millennials take a different approach: They expect the workplace to adapt – physically, intellectually, and in many cases – to meet their preferences (Barrett, 2007).

Job Design. Job design is one of the roles impacted by millennials and the management performance of job design and work force diversity. Job Design is the work arrangement (or rearrangement) aimed at reducing or overcoming job dissatisfaction and employee alienation arising from repetitive and mechanistic tasks. Through job design, organizations try to raise productivity levels by offering non-monetary rewards such as greater satisfaction from a sense of personal achievement in meeting the increased challenge and responsibility of one's work. Job enlargement, job enrichment, job rotation, and job simplification are the various techniques used in a job design exercise (Business Dictionary, 2017).

Job design for the millennial workforce requires that managers understand their needs. Millennials place the greatest importance on individualistic aspects of a job. They had realistic expectations of their first job and salary but were seeking rapid advancement and the development of new skills, while also ensuring a meaningful and satisfying life outside of work (Ng, 2010). Changing North American demographics have created a crisis in organizations as they strive to recruit and retain the millennial generation, who purportedly hold values, attitudes, and expectations are more fluent and non-confined to those who preceded them. A better understanding of the Millennials’ career expectations and priorities helps employers to create job offerings and work environments that are more likely to engage and retain millennial workers (Ng, 2010).

Changing work designs. The American work force has never been more diverse, with generations spanning from Baby Boomers to Gen X-era and beyond. In recent years, however, Millennials (adults aged 19 to 35) have driven the biggest transformation in workplace dynamics Experts and studies, for instance, tout how the Millennial generation is more collaborative than others and has a strong preference for remote work options. Additionally, Millennial workers are more connected and prefer to use technology to interact and get work done (Dukes, 2017). Millennials are not keen on conventional private offices. Corner offices no longer represent a badge of success. These workers tend to favor transparent space that promotes a team environment and an energized atmosphere. They look to connect with each other — and the workplace design can capture what is known as “activity-based working.” They like unplanned meetings, and want to seize upon “aha!” ideas arising from spontaneous encounters. Serendipitous moments are inspirational and drive big ideas (Kuriloff, 2015). What does that mean for workplace design and human performance improvement in corporate America?

Today organizations are changing how they do business, how, where, and with whom work is accomplished. Millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills as leaders and wish to see them making a positive contribution to society, but many Millennials find businesses are lacking in these areas. If you leaders do not use Human Performance Improvement initiatives to transition the culture change necessary to keep Millennials engaged, they will flee to start their own ventures or join the competition (Naiman, 2014). Built to change organizations are leading the way by designing their organizations to adapt to daily changes swiftly and without missing a beat.

The collective working environment is changing rapidly, thanks to millennials. A different means of communication, more telecommuting and an expectation of social awareness, emotional intelligence, and transparent teams. Communication by way of email is being replaced by in person or texting. The flexibility of work hours... working from home or telecommuting to allow for a balance of personal life and work is high on their list but, does not mean their work will stop at any hour. Collaboration and involvement with management on a team basis is more important to them than who is boss and social justice through transparency in everyday duties and finances is expected (Smith, 2017). Knowing the how, with what, and that the decision is ethically done is important. Not only do millennials care about profit, they also care about where that money goes. This is why the largest generation in the U.S. workforce is also demanding more volunteerism from their employers (Smith, 2017).

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